The Food Babe’s Advice Could Actually Kill You

18922_1637305663156110_6558874080695737159_n“If the ‪#‎foodbabe‬ was just endorsing eating more fresh produce and a healthy diet, I’d be surprised if anybody had a problem with her. It’s a common misconception that I’m against healthy eating because I disagree with the Food Babe. Not even close to the truth.
She supports cancer treatments that have never been shown to work. People have died from eschewing conventional treatments. Her advice is dangerous.
 
-The Science Babe, found on her Facebook Page (emphasis mine)
PEOPLE ARE DYING. It’s not just frustrating that the Food Babe and others are peddling fake cancer cures, they’re promoting advice that can and does KILL PEOPLE.
Fake cancer cures result, at the least, in lost dollars spent on worthless “cures”. For some people this is a minor cost, but for others it’s far more. People have gone into debt or used up their life savings on these supposed treatments that don’t actually work. And some have eschewed real treatments for these fake ones- and they’ve paid the ultimate price for it.
Some people get better on their own. In this woman’s case, she had a 33% chance of getting better without real treatment. If she had survived, she would have claimed it was her “miracle cure”, even if that treatment had nothing to do with her recovery. Confirmation bias. But it didn’t work, just like real medical professionals knew it wouldn’t, and tragically she died. She could have doubled her chances of living- but because of these cancer cure scams, she died instead.
Why am I so against people like The Food Babe? Because she claims to be empowering people with knowledge, but in reality she’s using fear tactics and manipulation to spread her misinformation and willful ignorance. She claims to give them knowledge but is telling them things that could harm or even kill them. She puts her fans at risk and tells them lies in order to make money. And she’s somehow convinced millions that SHE is the one who’s been wronged, and that we shouldn’t trust experts in the field because chemists and nutritionists couldn’t possibly teach a computer engineer (her profession) anything about chemicals and healthy eating!
And what frustrates me the most is that there are people in my life who will believe anything she says, and if I dare to disagree, they will claim that I’m ignorant of the “true” facts and I’ve been “deceived” by Big Pharma. It’s like a cult, to be honest- as are many of these pseudoscience camps that people become obsessed with.

The Food Babe: Expert or Fraud?

foodbabe1I’ve heard a lot of people praise the Food Babe, but I’d never researched her much until recently. Apparently she is NOT a reliable source of health information and advice (neither is Doctor Oz, he’s gotten in serious trouble for promoting weight loss scams). And it’s not just one source that decries the Food Babe as unreliable, I looked her up. The people calling her out actually have extensive medical and scientific training in these fields, unlike the Food babe, who was a computer engineer and banker before starting her food blog.

Pseudoscience sells and spreads like a virus. We need to make sure that we’re taking advice from people who actually know what they’re talking about; confidence and popularity do not equal reliability. Just because someone has a huge following and claims to be a health expert does NOT make it true. Just because someone got better doesn’t mean it was their diet change or homeopathic treatment that cured them, even if they truly believe it was the cause. We have to go by facts- not opinions, theories, causality assumptions, or wishful thinking.

Just to clarify, I’m not at all opposed to healthy living, it’s important and there is a lot of crap out there that we eat and probably shouldn’t. I try to eat healthy and there are many things in my diet that I try to avoid. However, I AM opposed to misinformation and unhealthy methods being promoted as thought they’re safe and factually sound. If someone can prove their statements factually and show that they are a reliable source of information in that field, I’ll seriously consider what they have to say. A certified nutritionist or medical professional with confirmed facts backing their advice? Certainly! Random blogger with no relevant training or degree that’s been decried by professionals, or a professional that touts unfounded products or ideas and gets in trouble for it? No thank you! (*cough* Food Babe and Dr. Oz!)

Don’t believe somebody just because they make something sound good or because they’ve scared you with their media hype. Look them up, see what other professionals in that field have to say about their claims. Question everything, compare sources, look at their credentials… never assume. Can a non-credentialed person ever come up with something that professionals in that field have missed? Sure. But it’s not common in medical and science fields, and when they do they have to prove it just like the professionals do.

“I also think it’s important, as a non-scientist who also writes on scientific issues, to point out that The Science Babe isn’t suggesting Hari can’t talk about these issues because she doesn’t have a degree in science. Rather, The Science Babe is attacking Hari’s shocking hubris on these topics. Hari presents herself as an expert, a scientist, a toxicologist, someone who is qualified to talk about these complex issues. She uses a mix of junk science and personal anecdotes to create her own theories on incredibly complex health and nutrition issues.” – See more at: http://www.iwf.org/blog/2796768/The-Food-Babe-vs-The-Science-Babe#sthash.MlBmrx4Y.dpuf

Here are a few of the many sources decrying the Food Babe. Notice that they are educated people in these fields, not random bloggers stating their opinions. To me that carries far more weight than anything the Food Babe says…

http://www.scibabe.com/foodbabeway/ (I HIGHLY recommend this entire blog, not just this post! She’s sassy and knows her stuff: “Yvette holds a B.A. in theatre, a B.S. in chemistry, and an MSc in forensic science with a concentration in biological criminalistics.)
http://www.sequenceinc.com/fraudfiles/2014/09/is-food-babe-a-fraud/

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/06/23/the-food-babe-is-to-food-as-jenny-mccarthy-is-to-vaccines/

http://www.elle.com/culture/a27692/food-babe-problem/

Why causality and causation are not the same:

http://www.scibabe.com/i-just-know-why-correlation-isnt-causation/